Autumn fashion: what’s hot and what’s not
Cleo Gravett explores this season’s trends, from cosy knitwear to sexy skirts and dresses.
Autumn is that glorious, tawny sweet spot where dressing for the weather becomes a pleasure, not a chore. Scarves and chunky jumpers are taken out of wardrobes and given a shake, and hot beverages become accessories as much as insulators. Over the past few years it’s become obvious that global warming is making seasonal weather more chaotic; this autumn will demand practical outfits that can be scaled back in case of a sunny spell, with a pair of gloves in your bag, primed for a cold snap.
I get the vibe that hats will be making a well-deserved comeback — you need only look outside to see people being more experimental with their fashion in the internet age — but hats always seem to be the great step too far. It’s not uncommon to hear “Oh, I just don’t suit hats”, or to fret about the threat of hat hair. This season gives you the chance to make your hat hair quiver in fear, though it begs the question — which style should crown your bonce? Summer’s hot newsboy caps weren’t as abundant as the trend predicted, and autumn’s long-term mascot, the quietly chic beret, is reliable but may be a tad stale. Branch out with a bowler hat or cloche, and perhaps keep your Halloween hat buys in circulation past the hungover morning of November 1st — but I don’t want to see any fedoras.
The classic tan and muted colour palettes of the 70’s seem to go hand in hand with autumn.
Despite the media (and my own father) bitterly referring to it as “the decade that style forgot”, I personally welcome the 70’s inspiration that has woven itself into our wardrobes this year. The classic tan and muted colour palettes of the decade seem to go hand in hand with autumn, though beware of soggy-ankled flares as the weather dampens and pavement puddles become more frequent. That being said, block colour outfits that disrupt the classic autumn palette remain bang-on-trend, acting as a good biseasonal bridge: autumnal items in vibrant summer colours. Knits, the eternal autumn staple, will be used in a big way this year — these “mega knits” are one type of knits you won’t be scratching your head about wearing. Use the “mega” as you see fit: avant-garde yarns, long chunky maxi dresses, endless layers, or surprising accessories, where Coco Chanel said take one thing off before you leave the house, this autumn says put another on — and make sure it’s knitted.
As pandemic restrictions have waned in the UK, the “Out-Out” trend is here to make sure that your sartorial statements actually have an opportunity to be seen. Last year, I was invited to a party with the dress code “That vintage dress/shirt/crazy headwear/etc. you’ve been wanting to show off but haven’t had a chance to”. Needless to say, it was one of the many parties lost to covid. But I ask you to picture your wardrobe, and visualise what you would have worn to this party. The “out out” trend is whichever item came to mind, and the months ahead are the party to which you should wear it.
The nip in the air has allowed the crisp white shirt to take the place of spring’s lacy camisole as the up-styling MVP, perfect under fancy dresses or sexy skirts…
The nip in the air has allowed the crisp white shirt to take the place of spring’s lacy camisole as the up-styling MVP, perfect under fancy dresses or sexy skirts… and speaking of, microminiskirts are having their moment in the chilly morning sun. Spotted on a plethora of A/W21 catwalks, I have long been a fan of the tiny skirt in cold weather, a highly practical temperature-regulating move which can be used to offset a big jumper or clingy turtleneck after trudging up and down Exeter’s sweaty-making hills.
Enduring trends such as greens, browns, and power suits aren’t going anywhere, but florals for autumn (groundbreaking?) are making an appearance, especially on big overcoats — the chintzier and more like Grandma’s pillowcases, the better. This harvest season, I wish you a fruitful crop of fresh looks — have fun!